Boys volleyball: Joliet West’s Landon Brouwer in the center of team’s success

Joliet West’s Landon Brouwer warms up before the game against Plainfield Central on Tuesday, April 23, 2024 in Plainfield.

The Joliet West boys volleyball team is having a season that, so far, has been tough to match. The Tigers improved to 20-3 on the year after Tuesday’s win over Southwest Prairie Conference rival Plainfield Central.

The Tigers like to play fast, and their style opens up opportunities for several hitters, including outsides Tommy Fellows and Nathan Fleischauer as well as right-side Drew Johnson and middles Alexander Ogugua, Mason Simpson and Michael Meloy.

In the middle of it all is setter Landon Brouwer, who brings order and organization to the speed.

It is something he has done for a long time.

“I started playing volleyball in sixth grade at Troy,” Brouwer said. “Three of my teammates on this team were also on that team – Nathan Fleischauer, Tommy Fellows and our libero, Connor Herre. We have developed a good chemistry on the court. I just need to put the ball in the air near a certain spot, and the hitters do all the heavy lifting.

“I’ve been playing with them for so long that I know what they want. Tommy and Nathan have different attack styles, and I know the differences.”

Joliet West’s Landon Brouwer sets the ball against Plainfield Central on Tuesday, April 23, 2024 in Plainfield.

The plan has worked to near perfection so far this season, and the Tigers have high hopes of making a deep postseason run despite being matched up with some formidable possible foes in the 30-team Bolingbrook Sectional. Joliet West is one of four regional hosts in the sectional, along with Lockport, Joliet Catholic Academy and Oswego East.

Brouwer’s presence has been a blessing to West coach Tara Litwicki.

“Landon is one of the best setters we have ever had at Joliet West,” Litwicki said. “I wish I could clone him and bring him back for another four years.

“He always makes the smart decision out on the court, and he is a great leader. He’s not real vocal. None of our captains are, but they let the other guys know if they need to pick things up. Landon has great chemistry with our hitters and he puts them in a great position to be successful.”

Brouwer will continue to play volleyball after high school, as he has committed to play in college for Roberts Wesleyan University in Rochester, New York, where he plans to study biology.

“I really like the coach there and the whole area around it,” Brouwer said. “I liked the guys on the team a lot when I visited there and it just felt like I fit in there. It’s a little far from home, but I will make it work.”

Until then, though, Brouwer and his teammates will continue toward their season goals, such as winning the Southwest Prairie Conference and making a deep playoff run with their eyes on advancing to the state finals.

Joliet West’s Landon Brouwer sets the ball against Providence on Tuesday, April 16, 2024 in New Lenox.

So far this year, Brouwer has accumulated 379 assists in 23 matches (52 sets) for an average of 7.3 assists per set. He also has a team-high 28 total blocks and has 75 kills and 98 digs while rarely coming off the court.

“I like to be in charge on the floor,” he said. “I enjoy being in control and deciding the pace of the game and who gets the ball. We have so many good attackers that someone always has a good matchup, and I try to make sure they get the ball when they have the good matchup.

“It’s my job to make smart decisions out there, and that’s what I try to do.”